With the demand for renewable energy projects growing, Orange County REMC is bringing the benefits of utility-scale solar energy to our community.
On a slightly overcast fall day, Directors and representatives from Orange County REMC and Hoosier Energy dedicated a new, cooperative-owned, solar array on Thursday, September 14th. Thousands of solar panels near Mitchell are now supplying energy to the grid for the benefit of cooperative members throughout southern Indiana.
The 3,900-panel array is capable of generating one megawatt of power. Orange County REMC worked alongside Hoosier Energy, their cooperative power supplier, to identify a prime location for the array. As a cooperative, our focus is always local. Our array is the 8th of 10 in Hoosier Energy’s solar program, which is part an “all-of-the-above” power supply strategy to diversify the generation portfolio and further the cooperative commitment of affordability, reliability and community. Collectively, the solar sites represent an opportunity for Orange County REMC to obtain information on how the latest solar technology can provide low-cost electricity for member consumers. Once collected, this information will help Orange County REMC learn more on how this variable energy resource integrates with the grid and how solar power might offset the need for other, more costly energy resources during periods of high demand.
In the future, we look to expand the benefit of this solar array to our members by offering a Community Solar Program. This program will allow members to buy the energy a panel produces in a couple of different ways. For example, credit will be given to the member that can be tracked as a line item on their monthly bill. This will allow members to enjoy the benefits of owning their own solar generation capacity without having to make a large upfront financial investment. The Community Solar Program will be less expensive than a typical rooftop solar installation and will give Orange County REMC the opportunity to fully education and connect with you, our members. Keep an eye out for this program, which is planned to roll out in the first quarter of next year.
Matthew C. Deaton